Pertr price hike necessary to salvage the economy. Cost of recent political turmoil is estimated at Rs60 billion. Interest rate hike will increase unemployment.

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(May 27, 2022)

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance and former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said political tensions in the country have reached their peak and if it is not stopped then the decline of the economy will accelerate.

Some politicians are constantly sacrificing the national interest for their petty interests, which is making the country a laughing stock, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the fragile economy cannot afford the politics of confrontation, civil disobedience and sabotage.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the business community across the country is worried about escalating political conflict as it is having a negative impact on the economy.

The tradition of rallies, processions, protests, strikes, violence and vandalism for political purposes is very old in the country and businessmen have been annoyed by such protests, so the government and the opposition should find a solution to it.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that in Karachi alone, there were five strikes in the long run of MQM. Since the May 25 protest march, the country has lost an estimated Rs60 billion in economic activity, while revenue of Rs20 billion and exports of Rs16 billion have been affected.

The business leader said that thousands of containers of industrialists and exporters were being used to stop the protestors, causing the loss of billions of rupees to the business community and the country.

Before the recent protests, a sit-in was allowed in Islamabad for 126 days which did not change the government but the delayed CPEC and other vital agreements resulted in the loss of billions of dollars to the national economy and tarnished the image of the country.

He further said that the increase in interest rates by the central bank will not help the economy but will increase inflation and unemployment while this decision may stabilize the exchange rate and reduce some of the uncertainty in the market.

The move will reduce business activity, increase debt and reduce the capital available to the industrialists.

He noted that an increase in prices of petroleum products would improve the economic situation of the country, increase inflation and pave the way for obtaining loans from the IMF and other countries.

There is an urgent need for targeted subsidies for the lower middle class and poor, he demanded.

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